Charlotte Vere, Caroline Lucas' Conservative opponent in Brighton Pavilion, tweets "Green Party's take on the economy doesn't stack up http://bit.ly/cbNVhM". The link leads to the illustrious Adam Smith Institute, where a distinctly non-illustrious attack on Green economic policies staggers into view.
The article, by one Nikhil Arora, begins with a defence of the banker's bonus culture. "Naturally, the Greens know better than anyone else in history how to set price controls without destroying wealth creation. And it goes without saying that they presume to dictate how much other peoples’ labour is worth". (Note: he is being ironic). OK, guilty as charged - we do presume to know when a banker is overpaid, especially someone like "Sir" Fred Goodwin, who still has his huge bonus and pension despite the gargantuan negligence in buying a whole bank full of debt.
Next, he attacks our proposal to increase the Minimum Wage, comparing it to Labour's blunder in increasing NIC. Although both would increase the wage bill, which is not ideal in a recession, there is a significant difference; the NIC is a tax on jobs, and the money goes to the Treasury. The Minimum Wage is a boost to the poorest section of the economy, and acts to reduce the Rich Poor Gap, which is a Good Thing for All. The business community has cried wolf over the Minimum Wage for too long; they warned that it would bring about the end of civilisation as we know it when it was brought in, and it did not.
In fact, it raises the Tories' Achilles Heel: the question that they dodge is this: "Do the Tories aim to reduce the Rich Poor Gap, or not?" If they do not, then their hope to produce a "Big Society", (which I take to mean a cohesive society) is doomed to fail. If they do, they are going to have to come up with some pretty non-Tory economic policies within the next 16 days.
The article re-issues the tired call for voluntary action by corporations to tackle environmental problems. There is no evidence that voluntary action works, apart from the work of committed pioneers like the Body Shop. All the rest is greenwash.
Arora concludes that action to tackle climate change would wreck the world's economy. This begs the question of what climate change itself will do to the world's economy, and also raises the question of whether Arora is one of the climate change sceptics that infest the Conservative Party? The Stern Review give the lie to the idea that tackling climate change is bad for the economy.
How are the mighty fallen! Adam Smith was a great economist for his time, and not at all the neo-liberal that hid devotees imagine.
If this scrap of polemic against the Green economic policy is the best the Tories can do, they richly deserve to lose not just in Brighton Pavilion, but throughout the country.